isc-dhcp: should we start phasing it out?

Andreas Hasenack andreas at
Mon May 16 17:34:30 UTC 2022


isc-dhcp client[1] is no longer actively maintained upstream. The
server still is, but upstream is clearly favoring the Kea[4] project
for that.

This blog post[2] from 2018, which announced that 4.4.x was going to
be the last series, says:
The 4.4 branch will be supported indefinitely – as long as there is
enough financial support from the user community to cover the costs of
ongoing maintenance.
The download table at [3] still has no EOL date for the 4.1.x (ESV)
and 4.4.x series.

Alternatives that come to mind are:
- kea, of course (from ISC). dhcp server only.
- dnsmasq (for small installations?), also server
- systemd-networkd itself obviously does the client part
- others?

isc-dhcp is such a classic that it is undoubtedly referenced in many
places, so phasing it out might be difficult. On the server, Kea is
not a drop-in replacement.

We also have the udebs, but with subiquity being the installer now we
probably don't need to worry about these anymore?

rdeps at

Removing isc-dhcp would also allow us to reduce the need of old compat
src:bind9-libs package, probably even drop it.

Could we perhaps start with phasing out the client, get its rdeps to
use alternatives, and then stop building it, and eventually get to the
server? This could be a lot of work, as I said, isc-dhcp is a classic,
but if upstream is shifting its focus elsewhere, soon we will be

On current kinetic:
$ reverse-depends isc-dhcp-client
* avahi-autoipd
* ifupdown [amd64 arm64 armhf ppc64el s390x]
* ifupdown-ng [amd64 arm64 armhf ppc64el s390x]
* madwimax [amd64 arm64 armhf ppc64el s390x]

* cloud-init
* dracut-network
* isc-dhcp-client-ddns [amd64 arm64 armhf ppc64el s390x]
* libguestfs0 [amd64 arm64 armhf ppc64el s390x]
* netscript-2.4
* network-manager [amd64 arm64 armhf ppc64el s390x]
* ubuntu-minimal [amd64 arm64 armhf ppc64el s390x]
* walinuxagent [amd64 arm64]
* whereami

$ reverse-depends isc-dhcp-server
* fai-server

* fai-quickstart
* isc-dhcp-server-ldap [amd64 arm64 armhf ppc64el s390x]


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